U2 – The Joshua Tree
MFSL Gold Ultradisc II
U2‘s The Joshua Tree was an epoch in American musical consciousness. But the album is such a big deal in rock history that you probably already know that … everyone does. It’s the album that contains the two songs that put the band on the mainstream map — “With Or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” When the chance to review the remastered version came up — with an extra CD of unreleased songs — I jumped at it.
While I hate non-standard CD packaging because it makes storage annoying, I’ve got to hand it to them: it’s beautiful. There’s a hardcover 32-page booklet, with top-loading cardboard sleeves at the front and back for the discs, that fits into a hardcover slipcase. The printing is black and metallic gold ink on sturdy, coated matte paper that doesn’t crimp or show fingerprints like most glossy CD inserts do. It looks great and should stand up well to repeated perusal.
Inside is a mercifully restrained introduction by VH1 Sr. VP Bill Flanagan at the beginning, and notes from U2’s guitarist The Edge about each song on the bonus disc at the end. In the middle are the lyrics to each song and accompanying discographic fetish information, like catalog number, chart positions, and which singles each track appeared on. This archival data is tastefully handled in that it’s uncluttered and out of the way if you don’t care, yet clearly visible if you do. Pictures of the band are interspersed throughout. A+ for design and relevant information.
Now down to business: the music. Comparing the original and remastered versions turned out to be a confusing experience. While I was really happy with some of their decisions, I was baffled by others.
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